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The Motivated Rejection of Science 771

Posted by Soulskill
from the brains-are-bad-at-accepting-their-environments dept.
Layzej writes "New research (PDF) to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science has found that those who subscribed to one or more conspiracy theories or who strongly supported a free market economy were more likely to reject the findings from climate science as well as other sciences. The researchers, led by UWA School of Psychology Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, found that free-market ideology was an overwhelmingly strong determinant of the rejection of climate science. It also predicted the rejection of the link between tobacco and lung cancer and between HIV and AIDS. Conspiratorial thinking was a lesser but still significant determinant of the rejection of all scientific propositions examined, from climate to lung cancer. Curiously, public response to the paper has provided a perfect real-life illustration of the very cognitive processes at the center of the research."
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The Motivated Rejection of Science

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  • Re:Wow (Score:1, Informative)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:35PM (#41262655) Homepage

    Leave it to Slashdot commenters to provide free evidence for the study!

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:3, Informative)

    by BMOC (2478408) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:54PM (#41263029)

    It was actually Earvin "Magic" Johnson who was declared HIV positive. And yes, he has remained AIDS free. While I personally find this miraculous to the point of incredulity, I'm willing to believe he has a good combination of genetics, a fantastic health regimen, and lots of money for experimental drugs to stave off full-blown AIDS. For the record, there are recorded cases of people who live with the HIV virus and never show symptoms without taking ANY special medication.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:4, Informative)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:03PM (#41263237) Journal

    Bullshit. You doubt AGW because it means having to actually do something that costs money.

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:20PM (#41263587) Journal

    "Global warming" as the term is generally used is not science. It's a political program. It's true that measured temperatures are higher than the last hundred years or so. That's a fact. But the "why it's happening" is not science, it's conjecture (I deliberately don't use the word theory, because I respect theory).

    In other words, you disrespect 97% of the scientists - that's the proportion of those who consider man-made CO2 emissions as the most likely cause (or strongest forcing mechanism) for global warming. Since you hold such an extraordinary position, I would be very interested to read the scientific basis of it.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:5, Informative)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:34PM (#41263983) Journal

    That's strange; I thought it was Timothy Ray Brown [webmd.com] the only man to be officially declared cured from AIDS. Apparently, he was cured 3 years ago as a result of a bone marrow transplant (to cure leukemia) from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that makes him/her immune to HIV. Brown was declared cured last July.

  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:56PM (#41264507) Homepage

    We doubt AGW because we have been given very solid fact based reasons to.

    Let's see: nineteen different institutions on four continents are running global circulation models ("climate models") that show the relationship between human-generated carbon dioxide and temperature. They must all be conspiring to cover up the truth, right? And also to cover up some error in the original 1967 Manabe and Wetherald calculation, the prediction of which fits the data taken over the last fifty years. I know of five different groups doing global temperature measurements, using everything from ship-based measurements to balloons to satellites. They're all in cahoots too, I assume?

    Yes, so far I'd say it does look like people-- you-- who reject the findings from climate science tend to also subscribe to conspiracy theories.

    We see hacks like Mann protected from the consequences of his fraud with the 'Hockey Stick" and nay, even rewarded for it. Cleared from all wrongdoing by the same corrupt institution that turned a blind eye to Sandusky...

    You mean, cleared from all wrongdoing by the eight corrupt institutions. You are aware that there have been eight different investigations of the alleged wrongdoings purportedly revealed by the stolen emails from the CRU at East Anglia, and that all of them said that there was no fraud? So your conspiracy includes the National Science Foundation and the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.

    Yep, you're indeed a data point confirming the study: people who reject the findings from climate science subscribe to conspiracy theories.

  • Re:Suprising how? (Score:3, Informative)

    by flyingsquid (813711) on Friday September 07, 2012 @03:19PM (#41264969)

    There's a reason why the same people who deny science also buy into the particular right-wing brand of free-market economics promoted by the Republican Party and libertarians, and the reason is that it's just another form of pseudoscience. It's part of a pattern of thinking (or lack of thinking, to be more accurate) that we see on the right, where people refuse to acknowledge basic realities that don't fit their worldview.

    Republicans argue that they can somehow manage to balance the budget. Yet they advocate more tax cuts for the rich, they've signed a pledge that they won't raise taxes, and they won't identify the spending cuts they'll make to bring it all in line. To top it all off, they want to increase military spending. At the end of the day, it somehow has to all add up, and it doesn't. They're denying the basic principles of arithmetic.

    Meanwhile the libertarians argue that they can somehow create an economic utopia by unleashing a sociopathic social order in which corporations are free to do whatever they want without oversight by the government. But we've seen what happens without a strong government, and the result is Somalia. Or Iraq. Or Afghanistan. A strong economy and thriving corporations require a government to provide infrastructure, security, and the rule of law. And we've seen what happens when corporations are allowed to do whatever they want; the result is disasters like the 2008 financial meltdown perpetrated by Wall Street speculators. Their entire premise is that we can just ignore political and economic realities and build a better world by following ideas from a series of poorly written economic fantasy novels.

    Healthy political discourse requires disagreement and different views. But one end of the political spectrum just seems to have taken a break from reason. It's not just that they're rejecting science, they have an increasingly shaky hold on reality.

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it. -- James Michener, "Space"

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